Most anyone that has followed the Minneapolis electronic music scene in the last three years would have heard of Heliosphere, a band formed by William Bates that combined uptempo electro with futurepop and industrial. All this laced with a simple honesty and an earnest appeal that had been lacking in the MSP electro genre. Naturally, they developed a fairly strong following and found themselves signed to Sector 9 Studios, a branch of Metropolis Records.
March 23 brought the CD release show for their debut album Hands On Nation, with support by GNP and Caustic.
GNP, or Gabber Nullification Project, with their 8-bit fueled gabber noise was their usual wonderment, combining metal attitude and progressions with laptops and synthesizers. While to the noise enthusiast this would be a treat, the crowd in general didn’t receive them well.
Caustic (featuring members of The Gothcicles) took to the stage next with their version of powernoise. While the music and accompanying band members were decent and entertaining to watch (as they all took pulls from 40 ounce bottles of some sort of brew), the vocalist was immediately boring, cheesy at best. The vocal style (grunts akin to metalcore) didn’t fit the music style, and he would repeatedly wrap the microphone cable around his neck in an attempt at live showmanship.
Finally Heliosphere appeared. While the music was overall comparable to their previous performances (read: aside from the occasional minor nuance changes, the songs were structurally the club/fan favorites), it definitely lacked luster and energy. It was as if it all was merely a puppet show to entertain the dumbed-down goth clubbers for their dance-and-pose indulgences. Despite the band members appearing to have fun on stage, it could not hide the fact that their set was a watered-down version of anything previous. To top off this display of sincerity, they staged a faux-encore for one song.